Friday, March 25, 2011

A Poem for the Annunication: I Sing of a Maiden

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

Back at the Behold Conference earlier this month, Sister Michaela, one of the Sisters of Life, quoted from a poem by Fr. John Duffy, a Redemptorist priest.  It's called "I Sing of a Maiden" and it was a favorite poem of John Cardinal O'Connor, the founder of the Sisters of Life.  In fact, each of the Sisters wear a medal with "Amd nothing would again be casual or small," part of the poem, inscribed on the back.  Sister Michaela shared with me the entire poem, and I'm sharing it here for all of us on this great feast.

I Sing of a Maiden
by Rev. John Duffy, C.S.s.R.

And was it true, 
The stranger standing so,
And saying things that lifted her in two,
And put her back before the world's beginning?
Her eyes filled slowly with the morning glow.
Her drowsy ear drank in a first sweet dubious bird.
Her cheek against the pillow woke and stirred
To gales enriched by passage over dew,
And friendly fields and slopes of Galilee
Arose in tremulous intermixture with her dreams,
Till she remembered suddenly...

Although the morning beams 
Came spilling in the gradual rubric known to every day,
And hills stood ruinous, as an eclipse,
Against the softly spreading ray,
Not touched by any strange apocalypse
Like that which yesterday had lifted her sublime,
And put her back before the first grey morn of Time --
Though nothing was disturbed from where she lay and saw,
Now she remembered with a quick and panting awe
That someone came, and took in hand her heart,
And broke irresistibly apart,
With what he said, and how in tall suspense
He lingered, while the white celestial inference,
Pushing her fears apart, went softly home.

Then she had faltered her reply,
And felt a sudden burden of eternal years,
And shamed by the angelic stranger standing by
Had bowed her head to hide her human tears.
Never again would she awake 
And find herself the buoyant Galilean lass,
But into her dissolving dreams would break
A hovering consciousness too terrible to pass --
A new awareness in her body when she stirred,
A sense of Light within her virgin gloom:
She was the Mother of the wandering Word, 
Little and terrifying in her laboring womb.
And nothing would again be casual and small,
But everything with light invested, overspilled
With terror and divinity, the dawn, the first bird's call, 
The silhouetted pitcher waiting to be filled.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How's Your Lenten Reading Going?

Now that we're a couple of weeks into Lent, I wanted to share how my plan of Lenten reading is going, and see what others are reading and finding helpful this Lent.

When I wrote at the beginning of the month that I hoped to pick up Introduction to the Devout Life as I often do during Lent, it was partially to stay accountable so I actually would.  And so far, so good.

I am more than halfway through this great classic by St. Francis de Sales, and really enjoying it and finding new things in it.

Just one quick, fairly random quote to share:

From the Third Part of the Introduction, in a section entitled, "Propriety in Dress:" "For my part, I would have devout people, whether men or women, always the best dressed in a group but the least pompous and affected.  As the proverb says, I would have them adorned with grace, decency, and dignity."

I still hope to read Forget Not Love:  The Passion of Maximilian Kolbe by Andre Frossard, that I've had for some time and have not yet read.

So how is your Lent going?  What are you reading?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Catholic Media Promotion Day

In honor of Catholic Media Promotion Day, I am doing the challenge described: listing some Catholic favorites, specifically, 3 blogs, 3 podcasts, 3 other media, and three random Catholic things online.  You can check out lots more recommendations at the Facebook page for this great initiative.  I had fun with this, and I hope you do, too.  You can also share your favorites in the comments.

Three favorite blogs:

Conversion Diary.  I know this is a favorite I've mentioned before, but it is really one of my must-read blogs.  I was so delighted to get a chance to meet Jen Fulwiler when she spoke at the Behold Conference a few weeks back; she's exactly as real, smart, and funny as her terrific writing.

Hell Burns, the blog of Sister Helena Burns, a daughter of St. Paul and a media literacy guru.  She posts here pretty sporadically, but it is well worth keeping up with her very detailed, incisive and often funny movie reviews and other commentary.

Faith & Family Live is a frequent stop for me.  I actually get the daily emails, which is handy, because I can click through to whatever topic interests me.  It's generally geared for moms of kids, but great to read and get encouragement from.

Three favorite podcasts:

Word on Fire, the podcast of the Sunday reflection of Fr. Robert Barron.  I find his commentary on the Sunday scripture so helpful to listen to on a Saturday run.    It helps set up the weekend well.

EWTN's The Journey Home podcast is just the audio of the television program that features Marcus Grodi interviews converts and reverts to the faith.    Marcus Grodi is a great interviewer, and the interviews are varied and interesting.  Sometimes they are so compelling I remember them for years.  Well worth a listen.

Lisa Hendey's Catholic Moments.  I've listened to Lisa Hendey since well before she became a Catholic household name, back when her podcast was fairly new.  Lisa is always encouraging, informative and uplifting.  Even if I don't have time to listen to all the contributors on her podcast, I make a point to listen to  her interviews with Catholic leaders.  I've learned a lot from her about so much Catholic and New Media.

Three other media:

I'm going to choose Apps for this, as I like to spotlight them from time to time:

Universalis, the Liturgy of the Hours online, on iPhone and many other platforms.  My most-used App, worth every penny and more of the $24.99 price.

Rosary Guide is a helpful tool to stay on track with the Rosary. I also have the Divine Mercy Guide by the same developer, but I don't see it currently available on the App Store. 

For Lent, I recommend Ave Maria Press' Stations of the Cross App that is based on the Amy Welborn/Michael Dubruiel book John Paul II's Biblical Way of the Cross, with icon-like artwork by Michael O'Brien.

Three random Catholic things online.  I'm picking things here that are a little offbeat :

Betty Duffy is random and Catholic and just a great read, time after time.  Lots to reflect on.

I have to sit down, Simcha Fisher's blog, is thought-provoking, laugh-out-loud funny and Catholic.  Another great writer.

LOL Saints.  I'm kidding when I say I'm not sure if this is a good idea during Lent.  But just to be safe, you might want to wait until Sunday to check out this site.

My own project:  

Well, it's right here, the Catholic Post Book Group!  I've really enjoyed writing this blog for nearly a year now, as well as my monthly column for the print Catholic Post.  I am learning so much about hope to continue sharing as 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Do Sundays "Count" During Lent?

Do Sundays "count" during Lent?

Read the rest of this article on my newer website, Reading Catholic.  Click here to go to the full article on, and I invite you to follow me over there!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hidden Camera Videos Fail the "Mom" Test

 “Never trust a decision you don’t want your mother to know about,” Abby Johnson says in UnPlanned about  her decision to work in the abortion industry.

That line keeps coming up to me as the various “hidden camera” investigations keep turning up, showing, among other things, bad behavior at Planned Parenthood and NPR.

I’m writing about this here again because it does relate to  UnPlanned, a Catholic Post Book Group selection and I think these issues deserve another look.

When I worked full-time in the pro-life movement in the 1980s and 1990s, “rescuing,” or civil disobedience, was popular.  In fact, part of the condition of my employment was to agree not to be arrested in pro-life activity (!).  So even though I did not do “rescues,” (something not legal) I feel confident if I had decided to, I could have shared it with my parents:  “Mom, Dad, I feel this issue and the lives of unborn children are so important that I am willing to practice civil disobedience and go to jail for this.”

But I could not have defended to my Mom being part of a hidden camera type investigation, no matter what positive outcome happened as a result of it.

I’m not saying that because they don’t pass my “Mom” test, therefore these kinds of actions are wrong.  I’m saying it is something to consider.

I’ve read so much on both sides from philosophers (here’s a very brief round-up of the mostly civil debate about the morality of these kinds of actions).  It's clear you can make a reasoned Catholic case for either side.  Personally, though, I wouldn’t participate in it, nor not want to be on the receiving end, of being recorded or taped secretly.  It’s a kind of violation.

What I’m having trouble with is the sizeable number of people--those who believe in the hidden camera tactic--who feel the need to attack those who raise legitimate moral concerns. One example is Pat Archbold, who created a strawman called “armchair pro-lifers” who aren’t willing to get into the fight, according to him.  It may have gotten him lots of page hits and comments, but all I can say is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Just because someone does not agree with the way you are active on pro-life issues does not make them “anti-life.”

Ironically, even though Abby Johnson gave me the idea of the “Mom test,” she agrees with the Live Action tactics, and even serves as an adviser to them now, according to her interview on EWTN’s The World Over.  Before I knew that, I brought it up with her in my Q&A last month.  As I've mentioned before, I respect her view but I don’t share it. As I wrote in my review of UnPlanned, in my younger days, I too, scoffed at not being pro-life “my way” as not effective pro-life work.   Now I see there are myriad ways to be a force for promoting life in the world.

I also have thoughts about the hidden camera investigation that caused some heads to roll at  NPR.  The man caught on tape was saying all sorts of ridiculous things, and even though he’s not a reporter, commentators are using it to show the  intractable liberal bais at NPR.

Not so fast. I spent much time in pro-life work and at conventions talking about the reality of media bias and how to work with reporters.  Yes, media bias exists, especially on the abortion issue.  Just one example:  look at the mainstream media coverage of the March for Life each year.

All I can say is that I’m sure the NPR fundraiser who made those derogatory comments is not pretending to be a Tea Party activist in his free time--it’s probably obvious where he’s coming from, and it’s not a nice place, regardless of his views.   What makes him so disagreeable is his contempt of people with views different than his.

That is certainly not true of all reporters.  For my part, I much preferred work with a reporter who was open about her views in favor of abortion, but covered the abortion evenly, than dozens of others who wouldn’t tell their views, but whose stories and coverage was super-biased.  Back in my days working with them, there were (and still are) plenty of NPR reporters worthy of respect, and some who weren’t.  But you don’t need a “hidden camera” to figure out who is who.

I think the much more important work is training ourselves, and especially kids who are growing up in this Internet age, in media literacy and media mindfulness.   There’s a lot of good coverage on a range of topics at, for instance, NPR, but also many other news sources.  Learning to discern the good from the not-so-good, the helpful from the harmful, is part of being a mature media consumer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Q&A with Father Gary Caster, author of The Little Way of Lent

I was delighted to get to a chance to see again my old "boss" Father Gary Caster.  We spoke briefly when he did a book signing at Lagron-Miller in January, and then we were able to chat more recently about his new book, one of my Lenten recommendations, over e-mail.

Q.  Your book The Little Way of Lent is Lent from the perspective of St. Therese of Lisieux .  How did you get the idea for approaching Lent through St. Therese’ spirituality?

The idea of approaching Lent from the perspective of St. Therese came from my own personal experience and at the request of the Pastor of St. Francis Xavier in Birmingham, AL. We went to seminary together so he knew of my devotion to the Little Flower. He invited me, two years ago, to lead a Lenten Mission for the people of his parish and when I shared with him what I had in mind, he asked if I could do so but from the perspective of the Little Way of Spiritual childhood. I, of course, said yes. I welcome any opportunity to extol the genius of the Little Flower. I should also add that perhaps the most ardent supporter of this project was Msgr. Rohlfs, who has been encouraging me for years to write reflections on the Scriptures from the perspective of St. Therese.

Q.  Who is your intended audience for The Little Way of Lent? 

The intended audience of both of my books is Catholics and non-Catholics alike, between the ages of 16 and 100 and beyond. It’s my hope that what I long to share is as accessible to as many people as possible. If not, why write at all?

Q. Talk about how you came to know and love St. Therese of Lisieux.  Has she always influenced your spirituality?

I was introduced to St. Therese in the fourth grade by my teacher, Sr. Teresita. The reason she first gave me materials on the Little Flower was because of my certainty that I was called to be a priest. Since the Little Flower also knew at a young age that God was calling her to Carmel, Sr. Teresita felt that the Little Flower and me would be a perfect match.

And so it seemed at first. However, when I learned that she died young from a painful case of tuberculosis, I wasn’t so certain I wanted to be friends with her. I thought, “Great, I’m going to catch some horrible disease and die young.” Fortunately I didn’t give in to my fear and continued learning about her life.

 I think I have read just about everything, in many different languages, about her. I even wrote my master’s thesis in Church History on her.  Still, I return every year to her spiritual autobiography. I can’t begin to count the number of times I have read it. Her approach to God and her conviction of being loved by Him resonated with what I most wanted to believe as a child, as a young adult and it still resonates with what I know to be true. The confidence with which she embraced her life is, in my mind, the single greatest example of what it means to live in the freedom of being a child of God.

She wasn’t maudlin, she didn’t believe she had to prove herself to God or earn his love, and best of all, she wasn’t self-centered in the way that too often happens when people try and “make themselves’ a saint. She left everything up to God and simply tried to make every facet of her life an expression of her love for Him.

Q.  You are a college chaplain.  How do you see young people living a faith-filled life, especially one as seemingly simple as St. Therese, in today’s Internet/fast-paced culture?

I think the first problem young people have is that the spiritual life is misrepresented. Many young people do not embark on a life in the Spirit because someone –erroneously, has convinced them that it is difficult to maintain a spiritual life. They don’t abandon God because of lack of interest, they abandon God because they have been convinced that living in relationship with God is incompatible with their lives. IT ISN’T.

Once someone presents to them that because we have been made for God living in relationship with Him is easy and possible, then they readily respond. Anyone that approaches a young person with an rigorously involved program, or worse, with a proposal that the only way to really be in relationship with God is to impose some sort semi-monastic rule, should be put in time out! They are WRONG, not just where young people are concerned, but where all non-monastic people are concerned.

The internet doesn’t have to be an obstacle to a substantial life of prayer, nor does culture have to be an obstacle. We live the time in which we were born and we consecrate the unique moment of history that is ours by the way in which we incarnate the same truth that has set us free, a truth described by our current Holy Father, Benedict XVI in these words, “God says, “I believe in you!” By far the easiest way to get young people to live their lives as prayer is to bring them to the One who says the words we all want to hear, “I love you and you matter to me!”

Q.  If people are inspired by your book to learn more about St. Therese, what other books would you recommend?

People wanting to learn more about St. Therese of Lisieux should first and foremost read her own words about her life and her relationship with Jesus Christ: “The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux.” The current edition by John Clarke, OCD is the best, unless of course one reads French.

QThe Little Way of Lent  is your second book (Mary, In Her Own Words was published in 2006).  What writing or new books do you have planned next?

I am currently waiting to see if Servant Books will be publishing The Little Way of Advent this year. I am writing a book on St. Joseph, my mother’s favorite saint, because I believe that although there are no recorded words of his in the Scriptures, what has been preserved in Scripture about him and handed down to us by the Church is eminently rich.

 I am also writing a novel about Heaven since it is my contention that far too many Christians want to live bound by time and space as long as possible and thus do not consider the destiny that is ours, one which should be shaping every aspect of our brief sojourn in this, a foreign land. It is told by a man who opens his eyes and shares the experience of recognizing his new condition of being as communion with God and freedom from all physical, emotional limitations becomes clear. Perhaps it is only of interest to me, but it is certainly fun writing.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Live Blogging the "Behold Conference"

Final live blogging update--Thank you all for joining me here and I invite you to comment about your favorite moments of the day:

Sister Bethany Madonna, Sister of Life:  "Your heart is so precious to the Lord, and He desires to be loved by you."

Jen Fulwiler's final talk:  "A Day Without Fear": "God gives grace for the situation, not the imagination."  Four ways that fear holds us back, and five ways (including challenges) to overcome it.  Lots of good homework!


Mass with Fr. Don Roszkowski of St. Mary's Metamora and two concelebrants.  The stage was transformed; I don't think you'll be able to see how great things looked from my far-away place, but it was a place of beauty and grace.

I took some lunch snaps and tried to not get people mid-bit.  Lunch (from Michael's Italians Feast) was delicious--tortellini, garlic bread, salad, etc.   Lots of great mini-desserts to sample.

Marie Miller's first song:  6 Foot 2.  "This is a song I wrote for my future spouse, who I haven't met yet."  Love it!!!!

Jen Fulwiler, former atheist shares her remarkable story of atheism to Catholicism:

"In the past 2,000 years, your question has been asked, and answered not just in a Catholic book, but a volume of books."

"Be filled with hope."

Up next: Mass.

Nice touch in the Adoration chapel:  handwritten cards with reflections.  Mine:  "Be imitators of God... walk in love as Christ loved us." --Ephesians 5:1
Morning session:  Behold Co-founder Rose Rudolph to attendees:  “We want you to feel that You are something to behold, you are something beautiful to behold.”

Behold co-founder Bonnie Engstrom:  "Archbishop Fulton Sheen is the patron of this conference."

Sister Michaela, Sister of Life, speaking of women: daughter, bride & mother; using our gifts of receptivity, contemplation and generosity.

Biggest laugh by far this morning (among many--this is a crowd of ladies ready to laugh!):  
“Should I be a Rockette or a Sister of Life?”
 some snaps from the morning:

busy breakfast

 Rose & Bonnie welcome

Rose presenting Sisters of Life with DVD of Cardinal O'Connor talking of founding their order

The Sisters are in the house!  It is so great to see so many familiar faces and so much feminine genius in one place.

I'm hoping my voice, which seems to have left me, will come back before I have to introduce Jen Fulwiler in a  couple of hours.
My first foray into live blogging starts right now!  I am actually feeling a little like a "rock star chauffeur" this morning, as I am the driver for the Sisters of Life.

I will update this post throughout the day with impressions, quotes and reflections.  Maybe even a few photos.  See you next at the Behold Conference!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Good Spiritual Library is a Hospital for the Soul

Here is my March column that appears in the print Catholic Post this weekend.

Are you ready for Lent yet?  Not quite?

I’m not, either.

Lent and Easter are so late this year that it should be a cinch to have all our Lenten devotions and practices spelled out, but it never seems to happen that way.  So I have started to set aside some books.  That’s because I know that alongside prayer, fasting and almsgiving, spiritual reading can make Lent fruitful, even more so than giving up my beloved dark chocolate.

There’s a great book blog called “A Library is a Hospital for the Mind.”  With a nod to that fascinating title, I submit that good spiritual reading is a kind of “hospital for the soul.”  If you haven’t had spiritual reading as part of your Lenten practice, or are looking for something fresh, here are a few suggestions of newer books to consider:

*The Little Way of Lent: Meditations in the Spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux by Fr. Gary Caster, a priest of the diocese of Peoria.  [Full disclosure here:  Father Caster was my boss when I taught high school for two years, and I’ve known him for nearly two decades. ] Father Caster draws on a long devotion to the “Little Flower” to give meditations for each day of Lent.  “What struck me,” Father Caster writes St. Therese, “was her insistence on the way we do things for God and not the things we do for him.  It wasn’t about what I was offering; it was about why.”  There are great little “nuggets” of quotes from St. Therese at the end of each reflection.

*”God speaks to us in the great silence of our heart,” is a famous quote from St. Augustine, and the frontspiece for Finding Your Hidden Treasure:  The Way of Silent Prayer by Benignus O’Rourke, OFA.  This nicely–sized book is truly “treasure”-filled with short meditations and encouragement from St. Augustine and his spirituality.  Finding Your Hidden Treasure is a wonderful read, eliciting a spirit of silence and peace on every page.

*Lent & Easter Wisdom from St. Benedict, by Judith Sutera, OSB, is the newest in Liguori’s “Lent & Easter Wisdom” series (other authors include GK Chesterton, Fulton Sheen and many others).   There’s a short quote from St. Benedict, Scripture verse, prayer, and Lenten action for each day of Lent and Easter Week.  A great instructive guide to St. Benedict’s thoughts.

*If you’re ready this Lent to take on a classic like St. Francis de Sales Introduction to the Devout Life, consider an excellent new edition by TAN Classics.  For many years, TAN was a reliable publisher of classics and great new books, but the graphic design and book quality were… let’s just say they left a little something to desired. 

Since TAN was acquired by Saint Benedict Press several years ago, all that has changed.  The books are still the great classics, like Story of a Soul, The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and others are here.  The difference is that the books have handsome, durable covers; beautiful typesetting and fonts, and just the right “feel.” Finally, these great classics have a production value that begins to match their greatness.

--What are your favorite Lenten reads?  What are you planning to read this Lent?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tech Aunt Meets Her Match In Twitter

Probably a dozen Christmases ago, I went to Barnes & Noble bookstore to get gift cards as present for several then-tween nephews.  This was in the days when gift cards were just coming into fashion.

It was the day before my husband and I would travel "back East" to see family for Christmas, so I was in a rush.  When I got to Barnes & Noble, the computers that loaded the gift cards was down (there was a separate computer for this at that point, if I remember correctly), and they could only give me paper gift certificates.

I reluctantly got the paper certificates and gave them, but later joked with my siblings and their kids that I was like an old auntie with a cane and a creaky voice talking to the clerk, "What? You want to give me cards to give as gifts?  But they're only little children.  I want to give them  gift certificates so they can pick out their own books,  I tell you."

Today, I'm sometimes known as "tech aunt" as the most "techy" among my siblings (and I venture to just as much as my as some of my neices & nephews, and I haven't grown up with it like they have).  I've been blogging for five years, I'm active on Facebook and working on the learning curve for LinkedIn.  I use Apps on my iPhone all the time.  I have always thought of myself as decently plugged in, though not an early adopter.  More like a earlier adopter, once all the kinks are worked out, but still fairly ahead of the curve.

But I think I've met my match with Twitter.

I originally signed up for Twitter last year, thinking it could work alongside my Catholic Post Book Group blog, but never took the time to get active with it.  But when I mentioned at a Behold Conference volunteer meeting last month that I was getting ready to "live blog" the conference, one of the younger volunteers said, "You mean like Twitter?"

Hmm, like Twitter.  Guess it was time for me to revisit Twitter.

What I was actually expecting to do was figure out some way of mobile, short updates that I could blog on my phone so that I could send regular updates to the blog (one post), and people could either check in, or see it so that I could give regular updates throughout the conference.   I won't be writing the longer story that will appear in the print and online Catholic Post, so my "live blogging" was meant to give the impression of the day, quotes and so forth, not meant be a finished article.   But then I have noticed (stop laughing, all you techier-than-me people) for years that some people "tweet" their blog posts, or tweet and then an alert goes onto Facebook, their blog, etc.  And there's been various articles online and other places about "the death of blogs" and blogging, though I'm not really convinced of that, though I see some huge changes in recent years.  Twitter seems like a natural next step.

So I've spent some time looking into Twitter, both online, and in books from the library like  Twitter, Facebook, and Social Networks for Nice Aunties Who Give Gift Certificates.  And frankly, I can't seem to get it all together.  I get Twitter, I have a brand-new account (@ReadingCatholic) where I can tweet, I'm following a couple of dozen people so far.  I think I understand hashtags, but I'm going to use them for the first time today, so we'll see.  Like Facebook, it's an easy way to waste way too much time.  I just discovered TweetCatholic, and there went another 15-20 minutes of my life.  But I can't seem to get everything together--blog, Facebook, Twitter, and figure it all out mobile-ish.

And that's part of the problem for me, if it really is a problem.  I have just not taken what for me would be the amount of time necessary to get up to speed with this.

The reason?  My "offline" life has been really busy in both wonderful and not so wonderful ways in recent weeks. Like many families, we've had a lot of sick people and sick days.  Those take a lot out of a mom, at least this mom, in terms of caregiving, keeping up with schoolwork, etc.  On the good side, our oldest daughter confirmed in recent days, very emotional and very beautiful.  Also, I have been so happy to finally start running outside early and see the gorgeous sunrises, instead of the unappealing choice between pitch darkness or the treadmill.  And this may sound funny, but I've spent a lot of time in the last week teaching my children backgammon and having a blast with that.  I forgot how much I love backgammon (and lots of other games).

I was starting to feel fairly low about this and my abilities, when my dear and wonderful husband (who did not know the depth of my despair about Twitter) posted on his Facebook this article about self-compassion, and how it's good both for one's mood and for one's success.  That helped my thinking a lot.  Thank you!

The result of all this?  Like a creaky old auntie, I'll be covering the Behold Conference the old-fashioned way.   I'll have my fountain pen and parchment paper, and write short updates through the conference that I'll send by carrier pigeon to the Catholic Post offices, where they'll be sent out to all of you.

No actually, I'll have my clunky but wonderful laptop with me on Saturday.  When I want to "live blog"  I will walk over to the Five Points library down the hall from the conference (conveniently open during the conference), and do a quick update.  Those, I am hoping, will also go out on Twitter and Facebook.  I have added a "follow me on twitter" widget to the upper right corner of the blog, so go me!

If you are a techy and want to help me work out all these details, I'm all for it.  But I might just challenge you to a game of backgammon instead.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

First, What are You Reading? Volume 7, March 2011

Here are my answers to the four questions I ask on the first of each month:
first, what are you reading?
what do you like best about it?
what do you like least?
what's next on your list/pile to read?

I hope you'll consider sharing yours on your blog and/or sharing yours here in the comments or on Facebook.  Happy reading!

First, what are you reading?

I just finished the a group of newer graphic novels on the new book table of our local library.  The only good one is a book I reviewed yesterday, Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke.

I'm also reading Decision Points by George H.W. Bush, because I usually order from the library some, if not all, of the books that the monthly "Meet a Reader" feature is reading.  I like to keep up with what other people are reading, and last month's "Meet a Reader," Sue Wozniak, reported she was reading and enjoying it.

I'm also reading myriad books on using Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn as I prepare to live blog the Behold conference this weekend, but with a confirmation this weekend (beautiful) and sickness yet again in our house (ugly), my learning curve keeps getting sharper.  Sigh.

What do you like best about them?

I liked almost everything about Zita the Spacegirl.  It's a fun read.

Decision Points is interesting.  I'm not that far into it, but so far I've been most moved by Bush's decision to stop drinking at the age of 40, and how he has stuck with it.

What do you like least about them?

As I wrote yesterday, Zita the Space Girl would have been just fine without the Hobbit-inspired giant spider-like space creatures.

What's next on your list?

I'm on a Gary Paulsen reading binge.  I just discovered the young adult author recently, but he's written some fantastic, especially boy-friendly fiction.  I thought he had won the Newberry Medal for Hatchet, his 1987 novel about a boy alone in the Canadian wilderness--it's that good!  I'm halfway through the many-kleenex My Life in Dog Years, and we've got quite a few more in the library basket from this prolific author.

I'm also hoping to read Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand.  I know it's been out for years, but I've read several excerpts and interviews about her new book, Unbroken, and I wanted to read her first one first.  My six degrees of separation is that Hillenbrand and I both attended Kenyon College at the same time.  She's a couple of years younger than I am, so I don't remember her well.  But I well remember her energetic and super-creative sister Susan who was in my class; we were on the same floor of our all-girls freshman dormitory, back when dorms were single-sex.

I've also set aside Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales for Lent.  I hope to read this through this Lent, since my reading has been fairly prolific in recent months.  Some Lents I am not able to finish, or even start, this classic that I find spiritually fruitful.  I'm also planning to read Forget Not Love:  The Passion of Maximillian Kolbe that I bought quite a few years back at Marytown, but have never had the chance to read.  It seems appropriate for Lent.

So what are you reading?  Share away!